Does stress cause hair loss?

Stress and hair loss

While the main culprit of hair loss is genetics, there are other factors that can contribute. In addition to a poor diet, severe stress can also lead to thinning hair. However, it's not the typical everyday stress that could do this. The type of stress that can lead to thinning hair is major stress, such as divorce or relationship problems, work problems like termination or layoff, the death of a loved one, serious financial difficulties like debt and bankruptcy, or a serious medical diagnosis (either of the person or a loved one).

Types of hair loss
There are three types of hair loss associated with high levels of stress. Trichotillomania occurs when a stressed person pulls hair out of his or her scalp or eyebrows. Alopecia areata is when the body's immune system attacks the hair follicles as if they were invasive. Naturally, this can lead to hair loss, and it's believed that stress is one of the causes. Telogen effluvium occurs when major stress causes the hair follicles to go into a state of rest. Over the course of several months, this will make hairs fall out. 

Severely stressful events like disease or the death of a loved one can contribute to hair loss. Severely stressful events like disease or the death of a loved one can contribute to hair loss.

Typical stress
The human scalp contains between 120,000 and 150,000 strands of hair, and it's natural to shed about 100 hairs per day. Typical stressors like getting stuck in traffic or arguing with a spouse are not going to make more hairs fall out. However, the significant medical issues and severe stressors mentioned above can contribute to hair loss due to the ways they affect the scalp and hair follicles. 

If you're experiencing hair loss and would like to learn more about hair restoration treatments, contact Marotta Hair Restoration today to schedule an appointment. Dr. Marotta is a dual-board certified facial plastic surgeon with expertise in hair restoration surgery and other treatments. Visit our website to learn more about all of the treatment options we offer to our clients.